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(en) Mexico, Chia[pas, Reply to ETA: I shit on all the revolutionary vanguards of this planet

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 19 Feb 2003 16:54:05 +0100 (CET)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Zapatista National Liberation Army January 9 to 12, 2003 
To the Basque political-military organization Euskadi Ta
Askatasuna Basque Country 
From the Zapatista National Liberation Army Mexico 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

We received the letter that, dated January 1st, 2003, you sent
us through news agencies, newspapers, web pages, etc. We knew
of your letter's existence on January 6th, but not in the
complete version until it came out in the Mexican newspaper
La Jornada. This is the version we are referring to. The news
came in the way all news arrives here. I was in the latrine,
thinking about what would happen if ETA took my word and
fulfilled my desires just as I would be completing necessities
that are known as philosophy. I could already see the
newspapers headlines the next day: "The Sup Dies, A Victim of
his Big Mouth", and later the gun shot (it's a journalistic term,
not what you think): "He left the shit he made" (ok, well the
journalists who keep good manners and preserve the good
customs could say "He left the poop he made"). And all the
dailies would publish a centerfold, signed by the clearest minds
and most elegant of Mexico and Spain that would say, "We
always said that this uncle was a shit". 

In the end, I was in reflections of this type (that Salater and the
CIA enthuse about so much) and returning to the
commandancia (Command) when the commandantes Tacho,
Mister, and Brus Li (and not Bruce Lee like they put in the
news) came looking for me and told me: 
-We heard in the news that the ETA has responded. 
-Oh yeah? And what did they say? 
-They scolded you. 
-Great, this is already an international sport. And how is it
"they scolded you"? It would be "they scolded us", isn't it "from
my voice speaks the voice of the EZLN"? 
-No, they scolded you. This is the deal: They directed the
scolding to you and the greeting and congratulations to us, said
Mister. He added, Maybe someone sent the complete letter.
This took a really long time, seeing that we are supposed to be
"postmodern" guerillas with all the advanced technology and
that we "surf" cyberspace.

With the letter finally in hand, they read it and later passed it
to me with a sarcastic "Uy!" Tacho asked, "Why would they say
"we know that you haven't always guessed right"? Omar
responded, smiling, "I think it is because we didn't guess right
when we put the Sup as the spokesperson". The side-splitting
laughter should have been heard all the way in Basque Country.
Comandante David came close to me and consoled me: "Don't
take it seriously, they're joking." Comandante Ester tried to say
something but the laughter got in her way. For a change,
Comandante Fidelia offered to prepare me a tea and told me:
"There has to be a response, about all the children of the
EZLN". "Also about this", Tacho said and marked for me some
parts of your letter with a pen that once belonged to the
General of the Division Absalo'n Castellanos (General of the
Mexican Federal Army, famous for assassinating indigenous
and persecuting, torturing, jailing, and killing dissident voices;
he was taken prisoner by Zapatista forces in 1994, judged and
condemned to the punishment of carrying with him for the rest
of his life the pardon of those who were his victims). It goes like

First- I'll clarify that the children of the EZLN don't
understand everything without words, as you incorrectly
suppose in your letter. We treat the children like children. It is
the powerful with their war that treats them like they are
adults. We talk to them. We teach them that the word,
together with love and dignity, is what makes us human beings.
We don't teach them how to fight. Well, yes, but only how to
fight with their words. They learn. They know that the reason
we are in all this is so that they won't have to do the same. And
they talk and they also listen. Contrary to what you say, we
teach the children that words don't kill but that yes it is
possible to kill words and, along with them, the act of being

We teach them that there are so many words like colors and
that there are so many thoughts because within them is the
world where words are born. That there are different thoughts
and we should respect them. That there are those who pretend
their way of thinking should be the only way and they
persecute, jail, and kill (always hidden behind the reasons of
the State, illegitimate laws, or "just causes") thoughts that are
different then their own. And we teach them to speak the truth,
that is to say, to speak with their hearts. Because the lie is
another form of killing words. In the language of the bat men,
those that in talking orient their paths, the Tzotziles, to speak
with the truth they say "YALEL TA MELEI". We teach them to
speak and also to listen. Because when people only talk and
don't listen, they end up thinking that what they say is the only
thing that is worth anything. In the language of the Tzotziles,
those that in listening orient their paths, to listen with their
hearts they say "YATEL TAJLOK 'EL COONTIC'". Speaking
and listening to words is how we know who we are, where we
come from, and where our steps are going. Also it's how we
know about others, their steps, and their world. Speaking and
listening to words is like listening to life. 

Second.- I see that you have a sense of humor and that you have
uncovered us: we the Zapatistas, who have never had the
attention of the national or international press, we wanted to
"use" the Basque conflict that, as is evident, gets great press.
Furthermore, since the day that we publicly referred to the
political struggle in Euskal Herria, the positive comments
about the Zapatistas, in the streets and in the national and
international press, have been growing. In respect to how you
don't want to be part of any type of "pantomime" or "opera", I
understand this. You prefer the tragedies. About how you
refuse to be the "next fashionable T-shirt on the main street in
Madrid", well this spoils our plans of putting a Zapatista
souvenir stall on that street (this is how we were thinking about
covering the costs of our trip). What's more, I doubt someone
would dare to wear a shirt with the ETA cause (and not because
you lack sympathizers- you have them, we don't forget this-
rather because if they make Batasuma illegal because it does
not condemn the armed struggle of ETA, imagine what they
would do to someone with a T-shirt that said "Gora ETA").
Apart from that, we didn't think we would ask for autographs or
fight with anyone to share the stage with you. That the meeting
would be something serious would be guaranteed because we
wouldn't be the ones organizing it (we only specialize in
zarzuelas [Spanish comic opera] or absurd theater), rather we
proposed that Basque social and political forces organize it and
make it happen even when it wouldn't be possible to have a
debate with Garzo'n, whether it would be for obstacles from the
Mexican or Spanish governments or from him or ETA. 

Third.- "The public manner, without prior consulting", in that
we put forth our initiative of AN OPPORTUNITY TO THE
WORD is how the Zapatistas do things. We don't previously
agree "in the dark" so that we later feign to propose things that
were already agreed upon beforehand. What's more, we don't
have the means, or the interest, or the obligation to "consult"
ETA before speaking. Because the Zapatistas have won the
right to the word: to say what we want to, about what we want
to, when we want to. And for this we do not have to consult with
or ask permission from anyone. Not from Aznar, nor the king
Juan Carlos, nor the judge Garzo'n, nor ETA. 

Fourth.-About us "lacking respect for the Basque people"; this
is something that Garzo'n has also accused us of (which,
consequently, he should auto-declare illegal because ETA is
coinciding with his positions) along with all the Spanish and
Basque right wing. This is due to the fact that to suggest giving
an opportunity to the word goes against the interests of those
that, from apparently contrary positions, have made their alibis
and business out of the death of the word. Because the Spanish
government kills the word when it attacks the Basque language
Euskera or the Navarrorum tongue, when it harasses or jails
journalists that "dare" to talk about the Basque theme and
include all points of view, and when it tortures prisoners so that
they "confess" to whatever will be useful to Spanish "justice".
And ETA kills the word when it assassinates those that attack
with words and not weapons. 

Fifth.-In respect to the fact that ETA is willing to "do
everything possible so that the EZLN is better informed about
the Basque conflict with the French and Spanish states", we
reject your disposition. We are not asking that anyone inform
us. We are informed, and better than a lot of people suppose. If
we don't express this information, which is also an opinion, it is
because one of our principles is that the matters of each nation
correspond to each people which is why we point out that would
not speak at the forum "An opportunity to the word". But now
that you are ready to inform, I think those that you should
inform are the Basque people. We ask for an opportunity for
the word. We should have directed this to various actors in the
Basque conflict. We did it because we owe it, not because we
are impassioned about writing to Garzo'n or ETA. In one form
or another, from distinct points on the Mexican, Spanish, or
Basque political spectrum (you included) they have taken this
opportunity and they have talked (even though the majority of
it has been to scold us). And so, even though it is grumbling and
preaching, they are already giving an opportunity to the word.
And this is the point. 

Sixth.-The matter about representation. The judge Garzo'n
claims to represent the Spanish and Basque people (and unites
with the representation of the king, Pepillo, and Felipillo) and
says that if I offend these said people then I offend all the
Basque and Spanish people. ETA claims to represent the
Basque people and if we offend them by proposing an
opportunity to the word then we offend all the Basque people. I
don't know if the Basque or Spanish people agree with being
represented by one or the other. It is up to them to decide, not
us. Contrary to judge Garzo'n and you, we do not claim to
represent anyone, only ourselves. We don't represent the
Mexican people (there are many political and social
organizations in this country). We don't represent the Mexican
left (there are other consistent leftist organizations). We do not
represent Mexican armed struggle (where there are at least 14
other armed political-military organizations on the left). Nor do
we represent all the Indian people of Mexico (there are,
fortunately, many indigenous organizations in Mexico, some
better organized than the EZLN). So we have never said that
the stupidities that you have dedicated to us have offended
"the Mexican people" or "the Indian people". They concern us
and we don't hide ourselves behind those we supposedly
represent who, in the majority of cases, don't even realize they
are being "represented". 

Seventh.- We know that the Zapatistas don't have a place in
the (dis) agreement of the revolutionary and vanguard
organizations of the world, or in the rearguard. This doesn't
make us feel bad. To the contrary, it satisfies us. We don't
grieve when we recognize that our ideas and proposals don't
have an eternal horizon, and that there are ideas and proposals
better suited than ours. So we have renounced the role of
vanguards and to obligate anyone to accept our thinking over
another argument wouldn't be the force of reason. 

Our weapons are not used to impose ideas or ways of life, rather
to defend a way of thinking and a way of seeing the world and
relating to it, something that, even though it can learn a lot
from other thoughts and ways of life, also has a lot to teach. We
are not those who you have to demand respect from. It's
already been seen how we are a failure of "revolutionary
vanguards" and so our respect wouldn' t be useful for anything.
Your people are those you have to win respect from. And
"respect" is one thing; another very distinct thing is "fear". We
know you are angry because we haven't taken you seriously, but
it is not your fault. We don't take anyone seriously, not even
ourselves. Because whoever takes themselves seriously has
stopped with the thought that their truth should be the truth
for everyone and forever. And, sooner or later, they dedicate
their force not so that their truth will be born, grow, be fruitful
and die (because no earthly truth is absolute and eternal)
rather they use it to kill everything that doesn't agree with this

We don't see why we would ask you what we should do or how
we should do it. What are you going to teach us? To kill
journalists who speak badly about the struggle? To justify the
death of children for reason of the "cause"? We don't need or
want your support or solidarity. We already have the support
and solidarity of many people in Mexico and the world. Our
struggle has a code of honor, inherited from our guerilla
ancestors and it contains, among other things: respect of
civilian lives (even though they may occupy government
positions that oppress us); we don't use crime to get resources
for ourselves (we don't rob, not even a snack store); we don't
respond to words with fire (even though many hurt us or lie to
us). One could think that to renounce these traditionally
"revolutionary" methods is renouncing the advancement of our
struggle. But, in the faint light of our history it seems that we
have advanced more than those that resort to such arguments
(more to demonstrate their radical nature and consequences
than to effectively serve their cause). Our enemies (who are not
just a few nor just in Mexico) want us to resort to these
methods. Nothing would be better for them then the EZLN
converting into a Mexican and indigenous version of ETA. In
fact, ever since we have used the word to refer to the struggle
of the Basque people they have accused us of this.
Unfortunately for them, it is not like this. And it never will be.
By the way, in the tongue of the night warriors "To fight with
honor" they say "PASC 'OP TA SCOTOL LEQUILAL". Ok,
"Salud" and we don't try to tell anyone what they should do, we
only ask for an opportunity to the word. If you don't want to
give it one, too bad. 

>From the mountains of Southeast Mexico, in the name of the
girls, boys, men, women, and elders of the EZLN. 

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos Headquarters of the
Zapatista National Liberation Army Mexico, January 2003 

P.S. Before I forget (Tacho has reminded me) in respect to your
final " !Viva Chiapas Libre!" (Long Live a Free Chiapas!): We
don't ask for your respect, rather a familiarity with geography.
Chiapas is a state in Southeastern Mexico. No organization or
individual has posed themselves to liberate Chiapas (well, one
time the Chiapan PRI, bothered because the Mexican federal
army didn't dedicate itself to annihilating us), much less the
Zapatistas. We don't want to make ourselves independent from
Mexico. We want to be a part of it, but without leaving who we
are: indigenous. So, figuring in that we struggle for Mexico, for
the Indian peoples of Mexico, for all the men and women of
Mexico no matter if they are Indian or not, the ending should
say: Long live a Mexico with its' Indigenous! 

P.S. "ACCIDENTAL".- Something should have happened, in
the past, in the dates that I began and ended this letter. 

Another P.S. It should already be evident, but I want to
remark: I shit on all the revolutionary vanguards of this planet. 

Autor(a): La Jornada / Translated by Laura Fecha: 

6:37pm Lunes 27 Enero 2003

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